The Premier League 2 (PL2) reverted to an under-21 competition this season, after a few years of running an under-23 format, though teams are allowed as many as five over-age players during this transitional season, which Chelsea took advantage of last night to give a few first-team players some much needed minutes.
Unfortunately, a team thus featuring Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, and Carney Chukwuemeka (who doesn’t actually need the over-age exemption) slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to Fulham FC. Not quite as impressive as our 7-1 win in the first game! Chukwuemeka played a little over an hour while the other completed the full-90. Callum Hudson-Odoi was set to feature as well, but was pulled from the squad earlier in the day, perhaps due to an impending move.
With Thomas Tuchel in attendance, Fulham youngster Luke Harris, 17, had himself a night and a half instead, scoring all three goals for the visitors at Kingsmeadow. This game was not broadcast anywhere, but Chelsea TV / 5th Stand do have some brief highlights available, should you choose to bear witness.
Of course, such things can happen when one team treats a fixture almost as a pre-season fitness exercise, and the other team takes it seriously — perhaps a bit too seriously in fact, if their social media accounts are any indication. On the plus side, no one got injured and those who needed minutes did in fact get some minutes, including Chilwell, who was pressed into action on opening day at Goodison despite not being fit.
Chelsea: Sharman-Lowe, Chalobah, Ampadu, Humphreys, Chilwell, Simons, Rankine, Chukwuemeka, Wareham, Hutchinson, Elliott.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) August 15, 2022
Subs: Mbuyamba, Beach, Hall, Haigh, Burstow. pic.twitter.com/GmbzvFBlWD